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Norman Giller's Spurs Odyssey Blog (No. 184) (17.07.17)

NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 184
Submitted by Norman Giller

Barkley's banking on Tottenham

SO, as Kyle Walker exits stage right, we await the entrance of at least two new players at Tottenham, and I understand negotiations will be stepped up this week to try to seal the signing of Everton’s talented Ross Barkley.

Daniel Levy has a pot of £80 million from outgoing transfers, and even with the huge cost of the new stadium he can afford to let Mauricio Pochettino splash out.

I have counted 82 players linked with Spurs by the "In the Knows", but only a handful of people at Tottenham know the targets. It’s easier to get a back hand shot past Roger Federer than secrets from Poch’s people.

It would be fascinating to see Mauricio working with Barkley, and getting him up to the standard of fitness that he demands from all his players. A fully fit, focused Barkley could cause huge damage to Premier League defences.

I could not understand the Spurs supporters who were taking vicious swipes on line at Kyle Walker after his departure for the money mountain that is Manchester City. He gave Tottenham superb service, and has now raised enough cash for investment on new talent. I am sure all Spurs Odyssey regulars will join me in wishing Kyle luck with his new challenge.


NOW join me in my Dr Who time machine – with a lady driver – as we take a trip back to the Double year of 1960-61, focusing on Part seven of our visit to the greatest season in Tottenham’s history. On the 50th anniversary of the FA Cup victory over Leicester at Wembley, I combined with entrepreneur and life-long Spurs supporter Terry Baker to produce a limited edition book of the Golden Double, that was introduced and autographed by Braveheart Dave Mackay.

We are serialising the book here in Sports Odyssey, reliving match by match the historic campaign in which Spurs purred to the League championship and FA Cup double. We rejoin the story with a very special victory over the Old Enemy …

Match 27

BEST moment of the season so far for true-blue Tottenham fans as they completed the double over their sworn enemies from Highbury via Woolwich. There was an early fright for Spurs when Scottish international right-half Tommy Docherty created the opening for Jackie Henderson to fire Arsenal into the lead, but Les Allen quickly cancelled it out from a quality pass by John White.

Terry Neill, red-blooded 18-year-old Irish defender, made a rash tackle on Terry Dyson and his countryman Danny Blanchflower coolly slotted home the penalty to make it 2-1. Tottenham’s third goal deserved to be captured in oils as Dave Mackay almost arrogantly exchanged passes with Peter Baker before releasing the ball to Cliff Jones. He accelerated deep into Arsenal territory and then centred for Bobby Smith to tap in from close range. Arsenal’s players looked stunned as they went in at half-time trailing 3-1 in a match in which they had been giving as good as they got.

The second-half got off to a dramatic start with two goals in as many minutes. Les Allen collected his second goal after a John White shot had been blocked, and Joe Haverty replied for Arsenal during a rare moment of indecision at the heart of the Tottenham defence.

Battle-hardened Tommy Docherty tried desperately to drive Arsenal back into the match, but he finally had to concede defeat in a midfield melting pot where his countrymen Mackay and White reigned supreme.

QUOTE – Tommy Docherty: "I always held up that Spurs team of 1960-61 as an example of how football should be played. Billy Nicholson was an outstanding manager and coach, and kept things nice and simple. There have been few midfield trios in club football to match Blanchflower, White and Mackay. They were fantastic."

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorers: Allen (2), Blanchflower (pen), Smith.

FA Cup Fourth Round

THERE was amusement and amazement mixed with a little apprehension when Tottenham were drawn against Crewe Alexandra for a fourth round FA Cup tie at White Hart Lane. It is part of Tottenham folklore how they played Crewe at the same stage of the tournament the previous season. They were held to a draw at Crewe and then won the replay by a club record 13-2. Both Bill Nicholson and his captain Danny Blanchflower spent the week leading up to the 1961 tie preaching against the dangers of complacency.

Just for the record, this was the team and the goal scorers in that 1960 replay: Brown; Hills, Henry, Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay, White, Harmer, Smith, Allen, Jones. The score was 6-1 inside the first 30 minutes and 10-1 at half-time. Les Allen scored five goals, Bobby Smith four, Cliff Jones a hat-trick and tiny Tommy Harmer’s rare long-range shot completed the rout.

There could easily have been double figures again in the 1961 tie but for a string of brilliant saves by Crewe goalkeeper Brian Williamson. The game was all over as a contest by half-time, following goals by Terry Dyson, Bobby Smith and Dave Mackay to one goal from Terry Tighe for a gallant but outclassed Crewe side.

Thanks mainly to the at times miraculous work of Williamson, Tottenham were confined to just two more goals in the second-half from Cliff Jones and Les Allen.

QUOTE – Bobby Smith: "All the talk after the comfortable win against Crewe was about the Double. It put us under enormous pressure because history was against us. But we were quietly confident that we could do it. Bill Nick fumed if ever he heard us discussing the Double. He wanted us concentrating on one game at a time."

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorers: Dyson, Smith, Mackay, Jones, Allen.

Match 28

IT was nearly six months coming, but for the first time in this glorious season Tottenham tasted defeat at White Hart Lane. The unlikely winners were a Leicester City team who had been consistent only in their inconsistency, and much to manager Bill Nicholson's anger Spurs were caught in the clutches of complacency.

Even the usually fervent Tottenham fans seemed to lack their customary commitment.The decibel count was well down as Leicester sneaked into a surprise 29th minute lead, Ken Leek beating Bill Brown with a thumping drive.

The goal acted as an alarm call to Spurs, and Les Allen ran on to a Cliff Jones pass five minutes later to stroke the ball past the oncoming Gordon Banks. Just as the Spurs fans were thinking normal service had been resumed, Leicester regained the lead in the 38th minute when Leek headed the ball against the bar and bundled the rebound into the net.

Bill Nick gave his players a half-time rollocking and they came out for the second-half with clear intent to regain control of the game. Their equaliser in the opening minutes was courtesy of a Blanchflower penalty after Bobby Smith was adjudged to have been fouled.

Suddenly there was an element of ill will in the game, and Dave Mackay was booked following an angry clash with Len Chalmers. Tottenham had lost their composure … and they lost the match when Maurice Norman dithered over a clearance. Jimmy Walsh stole the ball from him and gleefully poked it past Bill Brown for a shock 67th minute winner.

QUOTE – Danny Blanchflower: "This is the wake up call we need. Winning has become too easy a habit. We have been reminded that you have to earn victory. It was like a boxer dropping his guard and getting caught on the whiskers. We must tighten our defence and step up our work rate."

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorers: Allen, Blanchflower (pen).

Match 29

BY one of those freak coincidences often thrown up by the fixture fates, Spurs travelled to play Aston Villa in the League a week before having to play them again in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Tottenham’s confidence had been shaken by the Leicester City defeat, and they played with more caution than usual in a tense first-half. Villa had clearly decided that Danny Blanchflower was the man who made Spurs tick, and they double parked defenders on him in a bid to stifle his input.

Tottenham had a lucky escape late in a goalless first-half when Ron Henry clearly handled the ball in the goalmouth, but the referee was unsighted and waved play on as he ignored the animated penalty appeals of the Villa players.

Half-time pies were still being digested when Bobby Smith escaped the suffocating company of Villa defender Jimmy Dugdale to head Tottenham into the lead, answering manager Bill Nicholson's call for a quick strike.

Villa failed to realize that by giving too much attention to pass master Blanchflower they were leaving other Spurs players freedom, and unmarked Terry Dyson made it 2-0 with one of his typical dash-and-deliver runs that made him such a valuable asset to the Tottenham forward line.

Belatedly, Villa got a penalty that was duly dispatched by spot-kick specialist Stan Lynn. But Spurs shut up shop and the victory signalled that they had amassed 50 points quicker than any other First Division team in history in the two-points-a-win era.

QUOTE – Bobby Smith: "This was just the victory we needed after our poor showing against Leicester, but we know it will be a completely different challenge in the Cup next week. We will really have to be on our toes because the Cup is all Villa have left."

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorers: Smith, Dyson.

FA Cup Fifth Round

CLIFF JONES gave further evidence that he had developed into one of the world’s most dangerous wingers with the two goals that had Spurs marching on into the FA Cup quarter-finals. Villa were much less comfortable than in the League meeting on the same pitch seven days earlier, and in truth they were lucky not to have been given a much bigger hiding – thanks largely to Spurs taking their foot off the accelerator.

There were 15,000 more spectators than for the previous game, and they were treated to a master class by a Tottenham team at the peak of its form. They simply passed Villa to death, and their first goal in the 18th minute captured their absolute supremacy. The Villa defenders chased shadows as the ball travelled on a conveyor belt of passes before being delivered on a plate for Jones to score goal number one.

The Welsh Wizard collected his second goal midway through the first-half, hammering the ball past goalkeeper Geoff Sidebottom after the Villa defence had been dismantled by a series of quickly transferred passes involving the entire forward line.

Much to the frustration of the Villa fans and the aggravation of the Villa players, Spurs played an almost arrogant game of keep-ball in the second-half. The midfield maestros Blanchflower, White and Mackay were in their element, and were so much in control of the midfield territory that the Villa players must have felt like walk-on extras in an epic production starring Super Spurs.

QUOTE – Cliff Jones: "I got the goals but it was a team triumph. There were times when we played better than in any match this season. Everybody is buzzing about the possibility of the Double, but we are just taking each game as it comes. It would be unprofessional to look too far ahead."

TEAM AND SCORERS: Brown, Baker, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Mackay; Jones, White, Smith, Allen, Dyson.
Goalscorers: Jones (2).

Join us here next week for another thrilling instalment as Super Spurs march towards the glory-glory of the Double.


THE SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE TEASER

Each week during the close season, I am setting a weekly Tottenham teaser, just for fun and to keep you thinking about the club’s great history.

Last week I asked: Which 51-cap international striker was – at 37 – the oldest outfield player to appear in a Premier League match for Spurs?

Most of you were on the ball by naming Teddy Sheringham, who was poetry in motion during his two spells with Spurs. He was still playing League football with Colchester at the age of 42, a true master of the footballing arts.

First name drawn from the correct answers was Mark Pearce from Edgware, who has been a Spurs supporter for 40 years. I will send Mark a screen version of my Spurs ’67 book (you might consider buying a signed copy from me at http://www.normangillerbooks.com … all profits to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes).

This week’s teaser: Who was the only London-born Tottenham player to appear in an Olympics and play just one match for the full England team while wearing the No 11 shirt?

Email your answer please to SOQLTeaser11@normangillerbooks.com Closing date: midnight this Friday. I will send a screen version of Spurs ‘67 to the first name drawn from the correct answers.

Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!

The "Giller Index" - listing all Norman's articles for Spurs Odyssey

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